WCLV Cleveland To Go Non-Commercial

104.9 WCLV Cleveland Lorain ideastream WCPN WVIZ Non Commercial NonCommIdeastream Classical 104.9 WCLV Cleveland has announced it will shift from commercial to non-commercial status on January 1, 2013.

The move allows Ideastream to fully integrate the station it acquired last year with its NPR News/Talk 90.3 WCPN and PBS affiliate WVIZ-TV.

The Press Release follows:
WCLV 104.9FM, Northeastern Ohio’s Classical Music station, will begin operating as a noncommercial station on January 1, 2013. The audience will continue to enjoy familiar WCLV programming with familiar voices presenting the greatest music of the past five hundred years and the rich arts and cultural resources of today.

With the transition, WCLV is following commercial classical music radio stations in New York City, Boston and Seattle that have successfully converted to a noncommercial format.

WCLV is now affiliated with ideastream, the multiple media public service organization that operates noncommercial stations WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN. Studios for all three stations are at Idea Center® at PlayhouseSquare.

The transition will allow generous businesses and organizations to support the work of WCLV, and will give individuals who appreciate hearing classical music on the radio the opportunity to provide support through donations large and small.

“For five decades, WCLV has served as a focal point and megaphone for Northeast Ohio’s arts and culture resources and activities,” said Robert Conrad, WCLV’s President and Co-Founder. “This change to a noncommercial format will allow the station to continue serving our audience and to grow and evolve, much as our region’s vibrant arts and cultural assets are evolving and growing today.”

“The Northeast Ohio community identifies arts and culture as a primary asset of the region,” said Jerry Wareham, President and CEO of ideastream. “Because of the extraordinary generosity and good work of co-founder Robert Conrad, his partner Richard Marschner and their colleagues, the citizens of the region will continue to benefit from the availability of classical music and arts and cultural programming on the radio,” he continued.


Established in 1962, WCLV has gained an international reputation as a leading classical music broadcaster and producer and distributor of culturally oriented programming.

In 1965, WCLV began the Cleveland Orchestra radio broadcasts, now heard twice weekly at 104.9 and distributed world-wide. WCLV was one of the first FM-only commercial stations to carry the Metropolitan Opera live from New York. From 1969 to 2009, WCLV was the anchor station for the weekly City Club Forum broadcasts, which it continues to air. Other programs of note produced by WCLV for local broadcast and national distribution include Weekend Radio and selected concerts by Apollo’s Fire – The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra.

Local live broadcasts by WCLV include a monthly series of CIM Live programs from the Cleveland Institute of Music, wall-to-wall coverage of the bi-annual Cleveland International Piano Competition, and regular broadcasts from Baldwin-Wallace University, Cleveland State University and Oberlin College. In 2008, Jubilation, the Stuart Church Choir Festival began its annual live broadcasts, currently presented from St. John’s Cathedral. In the spring of 2012, the station aired four broadcasts from the newly established ChamberFest Cleveland. Regular delayed-broadcasts by the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire – The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra and the concert series of the Cleveland International Piano Competition are also presented.

In addition to its highly regarded musical programs, WCLV keeps its audience informed with hourly Wall Street Journal Reports, four daily broadcasts of the BBC World Service News and local news reports at 7:00 and 7:30 AM, 12:06 PM and 5:00 and 5:30 PM.

Over the years, WCLV has won many honors: four Gabriel Awards, three for Best Radio Station Nationwide and one for Best Religious Program; a NAB Marconi for Best Classical Radio Station; New York Radio Festival Silver and Gold medals for Best Classical Station Worldwide; two Ohio Governor’s Award for Support of the Arts; a Gracie for best interview program dealing with women’s issues; and numerous local awards.
In 2001, to assure continuation of classical music on the radio, ownership of WCLV was donated to the community through a nonprofit corporation and transferred to ideastream in 2011.

ABOUT ideastream

ideastream is a multiple media public service organization that applies the power of media to education, culture and citizenship. It includes WVIZ/PBS, 90.3 WCPN, educational and public service cable channels, broadband interactive video distance learning, the Internet and other interactive media.

Based on careful and ongoing ascertainment of community needs, ideastream acquires, creates and delivers content that connects those who seek knowledge with those who have it.

ideastream leverages technical, creative and financial resources through partnerships with other organizations that share interests in education and public service. Support comes primarily from contributions made by individuals, foundations and corporations. Funding from state and federal agencies also plays a critical role.

ideastream has attracted national attention as a new model for public service media. The services of ideastream multiple media are utilized by more than 2.8 million people a month.

For more information, contact:Peg Neeson, ideastream, 216-916-6152, peg.neeson@ideastream.org

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  1. MattParker says

    For the record, this station and the others mentioned in the press release continue to hold commercial licenses – as do all public radio stations in the AM band and above 91.9 Mhz. Often stations that “shift” keep many of the same “advertisers” – minus the calls to action and product comparisons. The main difference is these stations now qualify for CPB monies (also known as taxpayer dollars or public radio welfare).

  2. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

    WCLV was also formally owned by a non-profit organization (The WCLV Foundation) prior to ideastream’s acquisition. Radio Seaway – Robert Conrad’s group and the original owner of WCLV 95/5 – operated it under a reverse LMA as a commercial station.

    It should also be noted that WCLV’s original 2001 plan was to operate at both frequencies they acquired in that complicated three-way ownership transaction: 104.9 FM (traded by CC) AND 1420 AM (traded by Salem). In that plan, the NPO would own 104.9 with the aforementioned reverse LMA, while Radio Seaway would own and operate 1420 outright.

    It was only in a valiant attempt to preserve the adult standards format on WRMR/850 (which Salem was to dismantle and remove from the air) did that plan change. Unfortunately, because of a misguided programming strategy to extend the format’s music library back to the 1930s, the demos aged rapidly, and it was sold back to Salem in three years.

    Had the original 1420/104.9 plan gone forward, WCLV would not have dramatically lost it’s listener base in the far East Side of Cleveland and in Akron (where WKSU/89.7 filled in the gap). At least 104.9’s rimshot signal does a decent job attempting to cover the main city proper, but that’s about it.

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